Turn Your Heart Toward Home

And so, dear friends who have hung in there with me on my own little Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Cardiac Event Edition®, I thank you. Today, I will indeed attempt to wrap up my sordid little tale, with a description of what it was like as we turned our hearts toward home.

Picture from here.
Just 72 hours after his heart surgery was done, my dear husband, The Big Bison, was released to go home from the hospital on Monday afternoon. I thought, and still think that was phenomenally fast, but, in fact, it turned out just fine.

 He went home still on oxygen, and that concerned me a great deal. I was on high alert for about a week, finding myself in charge of so much I felt completely incompetent to handle. Giving 8 medications to a man who’d previously taken none, some at morning, some at night, one twice a day, with names 8 syllables long and completely unfamiliar to me, was daunting. Being in charge of managing his oxygen situation, when I had no idea what his oxygen levels actually were, was frightening. Learning how to fill the oxygen tanks and put the regulator on the top of each tank, so that he could take walks while on oxygen was  confusing to my non-mechanical-focused-on-whether-or-not-my-husband-was-going-to-keel-over-dead brain. And then there was worrying about how long a walk should be, and whether or not he was overdoing it. Making sure he was weighed each morning, so that we knew he wasn’t retaining fluid. Watching his wound for any signs of infection. Making sure he didn’t let the shower water spray on the wound, nor pass out in the shower. Yup. The first week home was pretty awful. 

We have a water bed, and the first week home I was too scared to sleep in the bed with him, afraid I would roll over on him and into his wound. So we drug a twin mattress into his room and I slept on the floor at the foot of his bed. My friend said it reminded her of Ruth, sleeping at Boaz’s feet. But I think I was a lot more terrified than Ruth. The oxygen machine was loud: like sleeping on the Death Star, across the room from Darth Vader’s bunk. 

The first night, our power went off, and the oxygen machine SCREAMED three shrill beeps to let me know the power was off, so that I could hook up the emergency oxygen tank.(If you know me well, you know that I have a German Shepherd who freaks out at any high pitched beep, so that was an added bonus to this story.) You can imagine, then, what it’s like for a traumatized, sleep-deprived woman who has finally momentarily given up watching her husband wince and groan in his sleep, and allowed the Sand Man to gently coax her eyes shut, even while she left the lamp on, just in case her husband might have a crisis in the night and she should be needed, to wake up to the pitch black of the Boonies and said alarm SHRIEKING its cries of alert, right beside her bed on the floor. Guess which one of us had to be pried off the ceiling, one fingernail at a time? (And yes, the electricity immediately came back on, thank God.)

Picture of me taken immediately upon my awakening from  power outage, from here.

 The second night home, the whole family and the two big dogs were all squished on top of each other in the little downstairs bathroom with the oxygen tank, waiting for the tornados to finish blowing through. Honestly, sometimes I wondered if we had a big sign on our spiritual backs that read, “Job’s Family: KICK ME!” Could we not catch a break? 

But we DID make it through that week. Rough as it was, we did make it through. And in retrospect, we caught plenty of breaks, the biggest one being: my husband is alive! He was given the opportunity to get his ticker fixed. A lot of folks are not given that opportunity! So, truly, although I may not sound like it, I am thankful beyond words. (Just a little shell shocked.)

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